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Challenging Gender Inequity in Wildlife Conservation: A Women’s Group Leading Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts in El Salvador

November 10, 2021

We conducted interview-based research to learn more about the roles that a women-led group plays in sea turtle and other conservation initiatives to help fill in the gap of women’s involvement in conservation initiatives in the literature.

Effective management of natural resources often requires diverse strategies implemented by a variety of conservation practitioners. 

Despite stark gender inequality challenges in many regions of the world, women can and do play a fundamental role in conservation initiatives in rural and other communities. However, examples of women’s involvement in conservation initiatives, notably in Latin America, are limited in the literature. 

We conducted interview-based research to learn more about the role that a women-led group named the Asociación de Desarrollo Comunal de Mujeres de la Barra de Santiago (AMBAS) – plays in sea turtle and other conservation initiatives in an artisanal fishing community in rural El Salvador. 

We identified four major themes from interview and survey responses:

1. gender challenges

2. interest in helping the environment

3. local ecological knowledge

4. community perceptions 

These responses underscore the value of incorporating women’s ecological knowledge into conservation efforts while also drawing attention to the continued challenges that women face in environmental decision making. 

These data also suggest that conservation strategies that provide both environmental and economic benefits can inspire conservation commitment, regardless of whether they are led by men or women.

This study contributes to the nascent dataset of examples highlighting the essential roles of women in conservation, and reinforces the notion that multi-gender participation is essential to maximise positive impact in conservation and wildlife recovery.

Massey LM, Camerden PM, Gaos AR, Liles MJ, Seminoff JA, Ahern ALM (2021) Challenging gender inequity in wildlife conservation: a women’s group leading sea turtle conservation efforts in El Salvador, Local Environment, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2021.1997962

Last updated by Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center on 12/03/2021

Diversity and Inclusion